and which always operated until 1939 ? "
Mr. Eden : " .. . My point is that the story of this area is a long-disputed
one ... It is true that the Russians accepted the Treaty—nobody disputes
that. But you cannot say, ' This is where I take my stand, and I refuse to
go back any further '—if you do, it will be impossible to reach a settlement.
It is quite true that it was our initiative—the Prime Minister's and mine—at
Moscow which raised this Polish question once again. We went to Moscow
with the fullest intention of talking about it, and of putting our point of view
to our Russian Ally . . . The first thing we asked was whether M. Grabski and
M. Mikolajczyk, who had been parties to the conversations before., could
come to Moscow again. That proposition was at once accepted,, on the
first night of our arrival-, by M. Stalin and M. Molotov j and they came to
Moscow. I had hoped—I do not deny that—that, as a result of this
discussion, a measure of agreement would arise large enough to enable the
conversations to continue., and a final settlement to be reached. But after
M. Mikolajczyk got back the Polish Government was reconstituted,, and those
hopes have been disappointed.
" My hon. Friend die Member for South-East Essex (Mr. Raikes), asked
whether I could say a little more about the Moscow conversations . . . First,
my hon. Friend said that the Polish Government were asked to give up at
once,, and go into the nebulous future, with uncertainty as to what Poland
will get. If that were the position,, I would agree that it would be quite an
unacceptable one from the Polish point of view. But that was not the
position. The position was that concessions—I do not like that word,.
let us say frontier changes, would be made. There was absolute agreement
between us and the Russians, as well as the Poles, on the changes there should
be in the West. The Poles would not be committed to the Curzon Line
unless, as a result of these discussions, agreement was finally reached, and
the Polish Government, headed by M. Mikolajczyk, went into Poland and
took up their position there. There was no question of our asking the
Poles to give up something without agreement being reached. There was
also the question of the composition of the Committee, on which my hon.
Friend asked whether they were going to be 75 per cent, or not."
Mr. Raikes : " Surely the position was not quite that the Poles were at
once to receive compensation in the West, and that the whole thing hung
together with the Curzon Line ; because the Russians had already got into
possession of Eastern Poland, and, whatever might be said at Moscow, the
Poles could not get the suggested compensation anyhow until the Germans
had been defeated ? "
Mr. Eden : " But the very fact that the Russians were in possession was
one of the reasons why we wanted to get agreement. I will explain why.
I do not know what the Lublin Committee may have wanted, but I think it
had never entered our heads to think that such an arrangement would be
possible for a moment. In fact, the only thing that was agreed about the
future composition of the Polish Government was that M. Mikolajczyk
himself should be Prime Minister. That was one thing about which every-
body seemed to be agreed—ourselves, the Russians, the Lublin Committee,
and the Polish Government in London.
" I come to a question which I do not think has played a great part—and
which should have played a greater part. . . That is the Corridor ... I have
taken the view for many years, as an individual, that it is impossible for the
Polish State to have an independent national life with the Corridor system
perpetuated.... Some people seem to think, quite wrongly, that the Corridor
was German. It was not; the population of the Corridor was Polish.
But, even so, the cross-traffic and the endless problems of the Free City of